This has had to come after some lengthy hesitation, and a gruesome debate within myself. Yes, I have finally opted to weigh in on the on-going debate as regards how the nation mourns the death of its celebrities.
This should also include how respective families tend to react to their demise and tend to dictate on how the nation ought to 'help' them mourn their beloved; especially in the wake of the growing new media.
For lack of an alternative and a more relevant alternative, Martse's family easily becomes the case in point.
I have in mind the continued 'revelations', on the events leading to the death of the departed music icon that the family, spearheaded by his brother, are seemingly propagating mostly on social media platforms.
Since I hear some of his 'accused' in his continued pubic outbursts have dragged him to court on defamation counts, let me quickly say that I will desist from commenting on the same.
I, however, must admit that this remains tempting now more than ever; at least with the vocal bereaved brother now reportedly asking for financial support from the public to help him in his legal battles.
To begin with, let me put an outright disclaimer: I blame them not.
Neither am I hear to support those seemingly getting 'bored' by how the family is grieving; the continuous digging for answers over Martse's demise close to three months ago.
I however want to emphasise the fact that no death gives out to mankind an appropriate answer; not even a clue.
Death is, in itself, unexplainable.
Death is a mystery.
Death lives with us.
Death strikes at will.
Death, despite the fact that we live our lives knowing that it will strike again among us, still catches us unawares.
Every death, even when anticipated or wished either by self or of someone, always leaves us hollow in the end.
It just leaves us feeling empty.
As long as we live, grief will always be with us, woven into the fabric of our days.
The legendary Paul Simon had to expertly include some line to that effect in his _Graceland_ masterstroke with the golden and evergreen Ladysmith Black Mambazo:
_Is like a window in your heart_
_Everybody sees you're blown apart_
_Everybody sees the wind blow..."_
Now back to the Martse saga, which has become like an episode of some sort, I think it is fair for me to say that I understand that we grieve differently and we judge not how others do it.
We heal differently too.
As such, I totally choose to understand what Martse's family, particularly his brother, are going through.
Grieving is never rehearsed
In fact, I find that prolonged grieving, is to some extent, evident enough of some failure in us as a people into accepting the reality; a lack of acceptance in us all that what has happened has happened. Further accepting that it has happened to us.
It is some sort of living in denial.
Many a times, this may also construe to us living in regrets.
It could be some things we did or did not do; some words we said of, or to the deceased that we ought not have.
At times, it is some words we ought to have said of, or to them, while they lived but eventually ended up not doing so.
The grave, therefore, is said to be rich with unspoken words, unfulfilled dreams and lives unlived.
Besides, don't they say that talk is cheap, and action proves why words are empty?
Unfortunately for mankind, regrets are like grandchildren; they always come late in life.
It makes it harder, therefore, for this particular family of Martse and all those in similar situations to have shared their lives with their departed loved ones in Malawi; a country where as hinted earlier, every death has to be logical.
In fact, in Malawi, with all its array of traditions and beliefs, death of a celebrity is not welcomed nor expected.
It is never accepted; never embraced.
If it happens, then someone should be behind it.
Doubting Thomases just need to flip the pages back to the deaths of the departed greats in Evison Matafale, Grace Chinga-Moffat, Eric Mabedi (stage name Jakobo) and many more others just to appreciate the argument being raised here.
Artists or celebrities in Malawi just don't have to die. When they do, which we all eventually will do, it is always "gone too early..."
It is as if we are all aware when they were supposed to leave the stage, and how they were supposed to die, anyway.
To agree with this notion, social media influencer Pemphero Mphande recently wrote on Twitter: "Our society glorifies poverty and demonizes wealth. It credits God for life and the devil for death. Sad people!"
That explains all this hullabaloos whenever one of those famous loved ones of ours finally breathes their last.
As for me, I choose to comfort myself with the fact that I am no God, nor a diety of some sort to know in advance the destiny of all men.
I do not even pretend to be so wise.
All I know for sure is that we are all mortal, and that we are all prone to death, which-i'm convinced- lives lurking around us every day.
The fact that tomorrow is never guaranteed always gives me the chance to live today in the best way possible.
Of course, I also remind myself that critics are always going to be there and that people always talk; dissecting how we each live our respective lives in tandem to their expectations on us; unrealistic as some may be.
However, I believe that what matters is how one looks at themselves.
Finally, I tend to find comfort, counsel and inspiration in _Speak_, a poem by Qabaniso Malewezi which basically attempts to explore what it means to speak.
I hope my colleagues will be taking notes as well.
_To speak is a calling that first calls us all to listen_
_But listening is not just waiting for someone else to finish speaking_
_It is an art that many are called to, few answer; and even fewer master_
Perhaps, the celebrated poet must have had an insight into the future as regards what we are going through now as a nation when he penned the second stanza.
He seemed to have left no stone unturned in his verse.
_It [Speak] is a journey that starts by listening one's thoughts_
_cutting through the thick and thorny bushes of loud shouting_
_past the vast wet and sticky lands of opinions judgements;_
_An adventure that leads to a rare treasure;_
_A quest the meek voice of truth that just sits there waiting to be discovered,_
_Tired of loneliness and sacred of the intimidating noises of life!_
If death is a man, he must be having some fun wherever he is; always robbing us of our loved ones willy-nilly.
But like Prophet Q already warned us, perhaps it is high time we stay still for a moment amid death, just to hear what life has to tell us from the same.
And for those who choose to continue making some noise, carelessly throwing accusations, counteraccusations and pointing figures in the name of ' justice must be done', or 'this family has now gone overboard with the issue',_Speak_ seemingly challenges them; and us all under the circumstances:
_"...but before you speak, practice your speech in front of the mirror_
_And then ask yourself if you believe the speaker speaking back to you!_
As for me, one thing that this life has taught me about death is never to try go look for answers for the latter.
Let Martse's soul rest!